Some motivational speech for us all this morning.
It is a mantra in writing advice that you should never give away your writing for free. Writing as a specialised skillset has become so devalued by the interaction between cheapskate publishers and writers desperate to be published that it’s a race to the bottom to see if they can get us to pay them to publish us (oh, wait…). To try to mitigate this continual erosion of value in the writing field, experienced writers advise newbie writers to never give away their writing for free. This can be as strict as telling them to not keep a blog, write for friends, or write for charity newsletters and the like. It can also include not writing for less than a certain number of cents per word.
This is undoubtably good advice, especially for non-fiction, but also for fiction which is, if anything, even more devalued. But I recently came across something that puts it in a different light. Read the rest of this entry »
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dabbling in popular science books about cognitive psychology (I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology back in my murky past, but I never had as much fun studying the subject formally as I have had reading about the results of various specialist areas presented for a general audience), it’s that our minds are out to screw us. Our body is a little more reliable, at least before we outlive our evolutionary usefulness, but there’s a couple of areas where it too will happily sabotage us (and then there’s areas where mind and body together act against us — see research on weight loss and gain). Read the rest of this entry »
I fully understand people’s resistance to ebooks beyond the logistics (DRM, device-locked, geographic restrictions, price) and their attachment to paper books, and the first part of this argument is valid…but the second? Smudges? Really?
I received the following question the other day:
Does a historical fiction novel have to have a murder in the storyline?
No, not at all -– think of the historical timing as the setting. The plot can still be anything that works within the confines of that setting –- romance, family melodrama, spy thriller, mystery (without murder), or indeed murder mystery (or police procedural), or any other plotline you care to use.
Anyone got anything to add?
The New Yorker has an article about ebooks and the iPad versus the Kindle and Amazon versus Apple and the publishers. As per usual, lots of input from the publishers in this article, not a lot from the readers who actually want to buy ebooks and are being put off by the trifecta: DRM, pricing higher than the paperback, unavailability due to delayed release or geographic restrictions. From the article: “Publishers’ real concern is that the low price of digital books will destroy bookstores, which are their primary customers”. Not readers, but bookstores. And this is why readers are being denied what they want at a time when there is burgeoning competition for their time in digital entertainment. (And I personally don’t think embedding video and audio etc in ebooks in the way to compete with other forms of entertainment; when I read, I want to read, not watch a video).
Don’t worry, Alot is here to help you with your minor grammar mistakes.
I can’t even pretend this is related to reading or writing, but people stuck in the wrong country need some plane humour right now. Don’t forget the mouse-over text.
Does anyone remember choose-your-own-adventure books?
I don’t often write short stories and it’s even rarer that I (try to) sell any, so this is the first time I’ve been stuck with this issue: an editor has failed to pay me for a short story and is ignoring my follow-up emails. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and suggest they might be being spammed, except I’ve tried a couple of different addresses now and also double-checked that my mail server is not blacklisted.
Look, I’ve been in the publishing business for approximately 0 seconds, and I already have a great deal of sympathy for editors (except the ones who don’t pay…more on that next week, if she hasn’t coughed up) now I’m experiencing the other side of the submissions process.
I’m publishing book-length character-driven speculative fiction by Australian authors. We ask for a synopsis and the first three chapters. You can read all about Winterbourne Publishing on our site.
Though I’m beginning to think expecting people to read anything is a little optimistic. Read the rest of this entry »
WEbook is a community place for writers to get feedback and possibly a shot at publication. They have in beta their PagetoFame set-up, where readers vote submitted manuscripts through a series of ratings, from the first page, to the first chapter, to the first 50 pages, to the whole thing – submissions making it through each round get glanced at by an agent, and submissions that make the final round get the full attention of literary agents. It’s a “talent-discovery vehicle” kind of like an online Idle style thing. It’ll cost $9.95 to enter, which as they point out is about what it costs in photocopying and postage to submit to agents the old-fashioned way anyway.
Probably more importantly, it’s also a way to get in touch with other writers and get feedback (though there are plenty of established online critiquing sites for that already) and also they list lots of agents and provide an online submission form to get in contact with them (AgentInbox, currently free, may cost in future…this is a little iffy).
If you’re a reader, you might like to join it at WEbooks rating some of the first pages and following your favourites as they progress through the rounds. I often bemoan that I rarely find books that match my tastes as much I would like — allowing readers input into publishing selections may be one way to broaden the range of what is published.
ePub ebooks sold through Apple’s iBookstore will only be able to be read on the iPad, not even on other Mac devices. At least for about three seconds, before someone breaks the DRM and then they can be read on any device you like.
Here’s one of those projects dedicated to increasing access to the beautiful rare books stored in museums and national archives around the world.
I was reading Soulless by Gail Carriger over the weekend, which is an enjoyably light read featuring both vampires and werewolves in a steampunk setting. Being a romantic comedy in which the male lead is a werewolf (thank goodness; wouldn’t have touched it if he’d been a vampire), there’s lots of references to Alpha and Beta males (and also, given the main character, Alpha females).
Alpha males are a staple of the romance genre and pop all over the place in urban fantasy and other genres with werewolves, vampires, and/or romance. They’re usually not so blatantly labelled except when talking about werewolves, given the classification comes from pack animals like wolves. They’re really meant to personify physical and mental strength, leadership and confidence, but badly or simplistically written, they tend to be jealous, arrogant, violent arseholes who in real life would be stalkers, rapists, and domestic violence perpetrators.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I generally cannot stand the alpha male Read the rest of this entry »